Watching the news, any news, for more than a couple of minutes is nearly impossible for me. The stories on the news are either ludicrous, horrific, or feature mind-numbingly evil antagonists. And sometimes, those stories infuriate me.
The local news can be awful, but often equates a soap-opera news option—overly dramatic broadcasters, all blonde hair, raised eyebrows and deadpan delivery, covering fires in abandoned buildings, bearded men who are arrested for not placing reflective triangles on their buggies... Sometimes the stories are tragic, and sometimes it's just a slow news day.
The world news? That's usually too disturbing to watch for long. We've become immune to violence and death from over-exposure. How many people were killed in the bombing? Was that a dead body I just saw covered in rubble? There was another natural disaster? What was it this time? Oh.
Let's take a look at what's going on now. Okay, there was a large-scale exotic animal massacre in Ohio because some loon of a guy who had amassed all these amazing creatures decided to 1) release them and 2) kill himself. Huh?! What in the world? Why did he collect them all, and then why did he free them and take his own life? Did he think this was some sort of statement? Did he honestly believe the animals would roam freely and not come to harm? How did he even get them? Was it legal? Apparently there were complaints for years about this goofball, yet he continued to acquire (both animals and bizarre personal traits, I'm guessing) and here we are today with a boatload of animal corpses in Ohio.
It gets better. In Philadelphia, authorities uncovered a dungeon of suffering for mentally challenged adults and an assortment of youth who receive government assistance of some sort. A sick little trio of friends decided, apparently, this was an easy way to make some money. How in the world this seemed like a defensible idea to anyone, I will never know. I can't even go there. I am ill just considering the conditions and suffering that these people were held in.
Now, those are stories that turn our stomachs, as they should. I don't want to know about them, but I probably should be at least informed so I keep abreast of what people are capable of doing. I can't begin to understand, but I should be aware and be reminded: This is a really messed up place with some seriously twisted people in it.
But then there are stories that enrage me, too. Like the whole Occupy Wall Street nonsense. What are these people against, exactly? Joblessness? If they had jobs, they likely wouldn't be able to participate in this lovely demonstration for very long. So maybe that's the beef? Or is it that big, bad corporations weren't held accountable for money loss? Were they hoping for college loans to be forgotten and that didn't happen? Have they come to the depressing realization that they can't drive new, fast cars on their current budgets? Do these folks even know why they're there? Are they angry that their cell phones are out of battery power? That their designer duds got dirty and/or no longer match? What, really, is the main complaint?
I can't stand to watch much of it, these people camped out in the very spaces that corporations provide for them, the displeased crowds who all manage to have what they really value (technology, name brands, nice camping gear) but bemoan the lack of money and opportunity. I hate to burst everyone's bubble, but here's the truth: many lives begin with (and sometimes continue with) un-fantastic, uninspiring, unrewarding work. Many of us started there, and frankly, more than a few have remained there. I can tell you why the middle class is shrinking; it's because the middle class tries very hard to have a lot of the same baubles that the upper class enjoys. We here in middle world have a very serious case of misguided, confused priorities. I want to live in a country that appreciates hard work, the basics, and has values. I don't really care to join with a band of creative hippy types who are whining about the lack of handouts.
Stop looking for handouts. Stop kvetching about who got them. Contact the president who's exacerbating the situation, your local and state representatives (do you even know who they are? did you vote?) and share your frustrations with them, and then go to work somewhere. Drive a small used car, live in a smaller house or apartment, shop where I shop, and most of all, Shush. Vociferously occupying a space that lies in the shadow of the very corporations that fund your hobbies, hand-helds, and highfalutin pursuits is hypocritical. If we look back at the history of this country, our success has been the result of individuals who competed to make money and make things better, and who worked hard. Sometimes, success has rested on the ability of many to do without, to sacrifice willingly. Nobody got rich by spreading the wealth, which actually means taking someone else's wealth. Which that wealthy person likely worked to attain. It's not the government's job to provide for us. The government owes us nothing but rights, freedoms, and protection from crazy people.
All right. I'm stepping off the soapbox now. I'm getting fired up just thinking about all this, weird people, cruel people, uninformed spoiled people, etc. I don't want to live in a bubble, but I also don't want to immerse myself in a boiling cauldron of information that fills me with helpless fury.
So, I'll keep the television off, and limit my time online. If I want to maintain a healthy balance in my mind and heart, I need to restrict my exposure. I want to feel genuine love for my fellow man, but golly, they can be an unlovable bunch.